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Old 01-13-2010, 09:20 PM #1
stevebski
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working with fiberglass

So I'm going to be entering the world of fiberglass here in fabricating the turret on our Astrovan tank (M113). I don't know what type of fiberglass or resin to get though. I'm thinking the same stuff they make boats out of since this will probably take the same beating as a boat. Anybody out there have experience in this? What do I need to buy?
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:40 PM #2
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All I can say is be careful because its easy to crack and **** up when cutting strong as hell just cracks when cut wrong.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:45 PM #3
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You may want to re-think this....fabricating a turret using fiberglass and 2 part resin is going to be a major headache and a lot harder than you think...Not cheap either .......Do your homework and Google "working with composites"....or "fiberglass boat building", etc .....Most of the things you see made out of fiberglass are made with forming molds.
Another fabricating technique is called compositing where you fab your turret shape out of an ultra light closed cell foam material , or even balsa wood , Then cover the entire foam core turret inside and out with layers of fiberglass matte wetted in 2 part resin which gives it the strength and rigidity you are looking for.........Composites are very strong and lightweight , but If you make a mistake with fiberglass and dont wet the matte properly or leave air bubbles when you lay it out , you will end up with a weak spot.......
If I were you I would try a small fiberglass test project first and then decide if you want to spend the time , effort , and money on the fiberglass turret.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:40 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EGOed View Post
fab your turret shape out of an ultra light closed cell foam material , or even balsa wood , Then cover the entire foam core turret inside and out with layers of fiberglass matte wetted in 2 part resin which gives it the strength and rigidity you are looking for
that is exactly what I was planning I have the balsa wood that I'm working on right now, was planning on covering it with the fiberglass for strength. Would marine fiberglass kits work for this?
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:34 AM #5
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The marine kits would probably work but Im really not sure the type of resin they are and quantities they come in....If its a large turret you will probably need quite a bit so maybe buy a gallon and go from there.....Not sure how much Hardener you will need , depends on your mix and how much working time you want before it sets up......I know you have to be carefull if you use foam since some resins will melt the foam material and I think they recomend polyester resins for this....Since you are using balsa I dont think it matters but do some online searches and you will find all the info you need and some good pictures......Get yourself a good scott filtration mask with chemical filters and work in a well ventilated area cause the fumes will fry your brain cells.....wicked headache.......lol

Just out of curiosity , why are you concerned with having such a light weight fiberglass turret if your tank platform is an astro van.....Weight shouldnt be an issue and im asuming you have a well thought out design for turret rotation already....Wood would be the easiest to work with and plenty strong enough for fabbing a turret.....I just think Fiberglass will be a pain to modify especially if you find out you need to make some changes to mount cannons , machineguns , etc.....If after a few games you decide you need some better vision ports in the turret or want to make an improvement to the design , your kinda screwed if its made out of fiberglass.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:52 PM #6
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My plans are for a turret that is 12" tall, and all the sides will be netted. Not gun ports, but just framed pieces of netting. We're not putting a paintball gun in the turret, just the cannon (metadyne), the powered elevation controls, and two 68/45's for it. The way the turret is going to rotate is by two handles extending down to the turret gunner and he rotates his body left and right. The brake system I'm putting on it is why I want such lightweight turret. If the turret weighs very little, the brakes will work very well holding the turret in place on uneven ground. Also, I can maintain fiberglass a lot easier than wood that will warp. I've tried sealing wood, painting it on both sides and it just never ever worked well. If I fiberglass over the balsa at least I have a structure that's lightweight, sealed from moisture and easily paintable.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:32 PM #7
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Sounds pretty cool.....Post up some pics when you finish.
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